My high school’s prom was Friday night. As I scroll through instagram post after instagram post, admiring all of my friends’ magnificent flowing gowns and pinned back hair, I came to the realization that that will never be me again. My days of prom, homecoming, and turnabout dress shopping are long over. Now, I shop for dresses for weddings, formals, etc. I realized today that I am no longer a student of my high school, I am in college and my high school days are long gone.
People say you never know when it will hit you. The fact that you’ll probably never see these people again. That graduation night is the last night you will all be together. People say it doesn’t hit you on graduation night. You may cry, but you’re only crying because your mom and grandma are crying. It might hit you when you say goodbye to your best friends. After spending countless hours with them over summer, trying to squeeze every last memory you possibly can in with them until you part ways for 4 months. It might hit you when you pack up your entire life into suitcases, boxes, backpacks. When your room looks foreign to you because of how barren it is. It might even hit you when your parents leave you, alone, in your dorm. When you’re left alone with a roommate that you’ve only spoken to via Facebook chat exchanging social medias and what each of you will bring.
For me, it happened in bursts. Saying goodbye to my friends, I cried. I knew we would be different people when I saw them next. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. It hit me when my sister had her first day of school and I was still in bed, because I didn’t leave for another week. It hit me, the night before I left. After leaving a friend’s house I drove around my town, driving up and down every street, passing my high school countless times, absorbing every last image of that town I had come to love. I cried. I drove around, listened to old songs and cried. I wasn’t ready and at the same time I was. I wasn’t ready to move on, but I knew that I had to. Saying goodbye to my family, I cried. I wouldn’t see them until family weekend, and I knew I would be different by that time. They weren’t ready for that. It hit me when I came home for winter break, and my room wasn’t my room. It was a bed and a desk where I would spend weeks at a time. But it wasn’t mine anymore. It was mine for so long, but not anymore. I cried my first night home. How no matter how long I lived in that house, how I knew every nook and cranny of that 3 story building, it wasn’t my house anymore. It was a place to vacation, before heading back to my new home- San Diego. My family wasn’t ready for the day that I called San Diego home. I see the hurt expression on my mom’s face every time I say, “I can’t believe I go home in ____ days.” I don’t mean to offend anyone, but it has become my home.
What no one told me is that it would hit me, a year later, scrolling through instagram and checking snapchat stories. No one told me I would miss that school. That school I dreaded going to every morning, would be a place I longed to visit one last time. I could tell you every hallway, every room number, every teacher, all of my friend’s locker numbers, the bell schedule every day of the week. No one told me I would miss it. No one told me that passing by it every break, I would lose a little piece of my high school self.
I hated high school but I loved it all the same. I hated 8am calculus but I loved the teachers and all the students. I hated the smell of the lunchroom but I loved that everyone gathered together for a time of relaxation. What no one told me is that despite how many events I went to, I wished I could eat just one more lunchroom cookie, attend just one more Shenanigans show, or basketball game.
Personally, I think I did high school pretty well. I played 4 different sports and participated in at least one of those every year. I was on yearbook: editor in chief, business editor, and design editor. I was part of my student government. Junior class president for a year, and executive board treasurer the next. I took AP classes and studied hard, trying to make good grades, and I had a pretty great group of friends.
Some days I wish I could do high school all over again. Be more outgoing, join different and more clubs, try out for a sport I never played my freshman year, and just redo high school knowing everything I know now.
But that’s not what high school is. High school is supposed to be big and scary. Walking into the new and inviting school painted blue and white with faces cheering and clapping for you is what it’s all about. Walking in with your best friends and out with your best friends is what high school is. Making mistakes, growing up, learning, crying, enjoying the new and foreign experiences. That’s what I did in high school.
Yes, I’ll never have the chance to go to my senior year homecoming that I missed, and I’ll never be able to go to another prom, but I did high school how you’re supposed to. I lived, I learned, and most importantly I grew into the woman I am today. I’ll never step foot into that school again as a student, but because of that school, I have blossomed into the brilliant woman that I am today.
Until next time.